Many people are very familiar with Canadian Blood Services and the important work that they do. Blood and blood products serve as a valuable resource for patients and medical professionals. It is crucial for treating those in emergency situations and surgeries, as well as those undergoing cancer treatment.
Due to this demand, the blood donation program carried out by Canadian Blood Services saves countless lives every year. But did you know that along with blood donation there are many other donation options and avenues that Canadian Blood Services provides, and all are vitally important to saving lives.
Plasma is the non-cellular fluid component of your blood. However, that is not to say it is any less necessary, plasma contains many proteins and factors that some individuals may be lacking, and plasma transfusion is the only way they can get it. Along with direct transfusion, donated plasma is also required in the process of drug manufacturing to synthesize life-saving medications.
An added benefit to donating plasma for the donor is that if you are temporarily unable to donate blood because of travel outside of Canada, you may still be able to donate plasma.
Donating stem cells is a more intensive, and long-term commitment as compared to blood and plasma donation. The process starts when an individual register themselves as a stem cell donor. Once this is done it may take months or even years for a matching recipient to be in need. Once a recipient is identified the donor will be contacted, and only then will the actual removal of stem cells from either blood or bone marrow begin.
The most invasive of all donation procedures is organ/tissue donation. While becoming an organ donor may be a bigger decision than any other kind of donor, it is incredibly important. Thousands of people are put on a wait list for organs from generous donors and not all of them get the organs they need, but together through donation we can help solve this.
There are two categories of donations: deceased and living. Nearly everyone can become a deceased donor, regardless of age, and even in some cases, medical conditions. Becoming a deceased donor is vitally important to the treatment process. For obvious reasons, certain organs are only able to be donated after death, and as discussed early, a great number of people depend on these donated organs.
The other category is living donation. Since most people are born with two kidneys, and if one is removed the other has the capacity to compensate for it, it is possible to donate one of them while the donor is still alive. There are several benefits to living donation as compared to deceased donation. A kidney from a living donor usually lasts longer and works better than one from a deceased donor, as well there is the added benefit of being alive for the repercussions of your donation.
For more information on any of the mentioned programs, or to register to become a donor, go to Canadian Blood Services website by clicking here.